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What Would the Civics Education Initiative Mean for Our Students?


The Civics Education Initiative would require high school students, as a condition of graduation, to pass a test on 100 basic facts of U.S. history and civics, from the U.S. Citizenship Civics Test. (Source)

It “would require all Missouri high school students to achieve at least a 60 percent score on the United States Citizenship Civics Test in order to graduate and earn a diploma.” General Education Development (GED) candidates would also be required to pass the test. (Source)

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle and in both the Missouri House and the Missouri Senate have broadly supported the Civics Education Initiative. Proponents have designed the initiative to provide schools and districts with as much flexibility as possible: In addition to administering the test in whatever way the school deems appropriate (10 questions, 100 questions, or some other arrangement), the initiative gives students the freedom to take the civics test at any time during their high school years.

Schools and districts will also have the flexibility to determine when during junior high and high school students will be presented with civics-related subject matter. The heart of the initiative is to ensure that Missouri students graduate ready to engage as educated and responsible stewards of democracy:

“The Civics Education Initiative is a fundamental first step toward ensuring all Missouri students understand the basic foundations of our government,” Dan Mehan, with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry said. “Its simple in concept and it ensures that our high school graduates have the basic knowledge necessary for active, engaged citizenship.” (Source)

The United States Citizenship Civics Test is the same test that immigrants aspiring toward U.S. citizenship must take. It was created by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and it includes 100 questions about American government, history, and integrated civics.

Prospective U.S. citizens are assigned 10 of those 100 questions at random, but exactly how many questions will be on a Missouri high school student’s test will be determined by individual schools and districts.

The Civics Education Initiative is an affiliate of the Joe Foss Institute, which was founded to educate American youth on the importance of our country’s unique freedoms, and to inspire them to public service. Joe Foss was a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, former governor of South Dakota, and first commissioner of the American Football League.

Learn more about the Joe Foss Institute here.

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